By Jeff Portnoy
A listing of NCAA League Basketball Conference Standings in yesterday's USA Today , which included 29 Conferences, but NOT the Big West, crystalized for me a discussion that many of you have discussed with me over the past few weeks. The discussion is are we better off in a weak league like the Big West, where, arguably, we have a chance to win the regular season championship or the post season tournament, and therfore go to real post season, or is the quality of the play so mediocre that real basketball fans are staying away from attending the games or even caring about the season. A comment to Monday's blog sort of summarizes the issue by pointing out what would happen this year if the basketball Bows were in the Mountain West.
Now maybe USA had an editing mistake and that's why the Big West was omitted. The list included even worse leagues like The SWAC and Great West. And we all know UH apparently didnt have an opition as to where its non-football teams ended up. But the discussion is worth having and i would like to hear from you folks. As a fan, do you care what league we play in, no matter the quality of play, so long as we can compete for the post season, or do care more about watching and following better teams and better quality of play as a basketball fan.?
I must admit i miss even WAC basketball. There are no teams this year in the Big West that can compare even to former WAC opponents like Nevada, Boise, New Mexico State, and Utah State. And forget about the Mountain West with teams like San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico, etc. Frankly, playing this year in the Big West is like playing San Jose every game ( and that's before San Jose became even marginally competitive. Is this a down year in the Big West. Folks who have followed the league say it is, but even when it was not a " down year", only a team or two like Long Beach, made the National radar. On the other hand, at least presently, could UH have a prayer of winning the " old" WAC or MWC. Not likely, and that's been the situation for at least the last 5 years.
So lets have the discussion. I know its not as if UH has a choice, at least not now, but its worth talking about. As UH goes off to play Riverside, 5-15 and 2-6 in the Big West, in a game they simply cannot afford to lose if they want to compete for the top third of the league, i look forward to your opinions. Its the big fish in the little pond vrs little fish in the big pond, or do you buy the cheapest house in a great neighborhood or the largest house in a poorer neighborhood argument. Although a few of you tell me based upon league play so far, UH is not exactly dominating the league as is. I love it